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Logano earns first Charlotte victory in Friday night's race

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Oct. 12, 2012

With the incredible season Joey Logano has had in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, it seemed odd there was a milestone he had not reached.

Logano had not won a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He checked that one off the list Friday night, holding off Kevin Harvick to win a wild Dollar General 300.

The win is Logano’s eighth in the series this season in 18 starts – an impressive 44.4 winning percentage. Logano’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, set the record for most wins in a season with 13 in 2010.

“This track is fun, especially on older tires when you start to get to run up to the wall. You can run as high as you want or as low you want and anywhere in between,” Logano said.

“It makes it a lot of fun. It’s a tough track. There is no point when you are running against the wall that you have any room for error.”

Logano credited his crew chief, Adam Stevens, for his remarkable this season.

“We communicate so well. He knows what I need when I say certain things and the adjustments he needs to make for me,” Logano said of Stevens. “He seems to always give me a car that can win at the end of these things.”

As the race wound down, all of the lead-lap cars needed to make a final pit stop for fuel. Hamlin was the first to pit under green on Lap 179 of 200.

Brad Keselowski, who had one of the fastest cars late in the race, was forced to make a second pit stop when his crew was unable to get the fuel can in the car during his initial pit stop on Lap 190.

Keselowski appeared to have the race lead in hand if he did not have to pit again.

“It takes a lot of pieces right to win a race,” Keselowski said. “We had speed – I am proud of that. Obviously, we didn’t get all pieces right that it takes to win a race.”

Series points leader Elliott Sadler, who started from the pole, finished third. Busch was fourth and Hamlin was fifth.

Sadler now holds a 13-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – who finished seventh – for the series championship with four races remaining.

“This was good because it was a mile-and-a-half track and we have three left in Kansas, Texas and Homestead, and we know we’re going to run really well at Phoenix,” Sadler said.

“For us to come in here and sit on the pole, lead some laps, run in the top-five all night long, says a lot about our program. I’m so proud of these guys.

“This is exactly what we needed.”

Stenhouse brushed the wall late in the race, and when he made a late pit stop, his team was indecisive whether they should repair the damage. Stenhouse lost seven positions on pit road.

“We’re not close enough to (Sadler),” Stenhouse said. “We’re losing points, so that’s not the way we need to be going.”

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